A reader of my blog called in with a good question.  He regularly works at a school from Monday to Friday.  On a Thursday afternoon, right before he was going to leave for the day, he slipped on a wet floor and hurt his back.  He went to the doctor that day and had extreme pain.  The doctor gave him some pain medication, told him to follow up with him the following Wednesday and said he could not perform any work until that time.  He did go back on that date and let the doctor know he was feeling much better so he was released to return to work, full duty.
The law in Illinois says that if you are hurt and can not work, you are supposed to begin receiving temporary total disability benefits (TTD) on the fourth day that you miss.  The first three days do not get paid until you have missed 14 calendar days.  After that happens, the first three days are to be paid retroactively.
The key word here is “calendar” days.  So for my caller, he missed Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  He called me wanting to know if it was worth it to get a lawyer over the one day of work lost that he thinks he is owed.  I let him know that he’s not owed one day, but instead three days.  He was kept off work for six calendar days total.  So based on Illinois law he’s owed three days of TTD benefits.  It doesn’t matter that he never works on the weekend because the TTD pay rate is based on a seven day work week.
Whether or not it’s worth it to get an attorney for three missed days probably depends more on the extent of the injury than anything else, but that money is his and he is owed.  Why should the insurance company keep it and he go without pay for those days?  He’s already not getting paid for the other three days that he’s not entitled to under the law and the amount he’s going to receive will not equal what he could have gotten if he wasn’t injured and could work his normal job.
This caller didn’t ask, but I also get asked a lot about when the TTD checks should start to arrive.  If it’s obvious right away that you are going to be off work for some time – e.g. you drive a bus and shatter your right let in a bus accident – then you have a right to expect that within two weeks of the accident date the checks will start coming.  Some insurance companies send the checks weekly, others do it every other week.
The times that you don’t get paid in a timely manner like this are when it’s not obvious that you’ll be off work for a while or they haven’t been provided copies of your off work slips.  If we or any lawyer in our network was representing you, as soon as you go to a doctor’s visit we’d tell you to get us a copy of your off work slip.  We get it to the insurance adjuster right away so there can be no excuse about paying you.
The only other time you can’t expect a TTD check within two weeks of the accident is if there is a legitimate dispute as to whether or not your injuries are work related.  The problem here which often leads to workers getting an attorney is that it’s not unusual for an insurance company to send a letter that says, “We’ve investigated your injuries and have determined that they are not work related as covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.”  Often this letter is just a tactic to hope that you won’t pursue the case any further and will be discouraged.  If it’s a bogus denial, the proper thing to do is hire a lawyer and have them file a 19(b) petition for immediate hearing and a petition for penalties and fees to punish the insurance company for their bad behavior.  Too often they will play games and your life of course is not a game.